Happy Holidays from All of Us at MRFRS!

On behalf of all of us at the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society, thank you for being part of our wonderful cat-loving community! During 2016, we helped over 7,000 cats and kittens from January through October and many more in recent months…solely due to your commitment and generosity. As you think about your year-end giving, we hope that you will consider a donation to MRFRS. Your support will help us continue our adoption, veterinary, and spay/neuter programs that bring much-needed help to both cats and cat owners in our region.

Help us to continue our work assisting cats and kittens in need by clicking here to make a tax-deductible donation today!

Join Us for Holiday Cheer & Shopping at Whisker Wonderland, Saturday December 10th

Join your friends at MRFRS on Saturday, December 10th from noon to 4pm for our annual Whisker Wonderland holiday open house! Pick up your 2017 MRFRS calendar, check out shopping opportunities and enjoy some holiday cheer and fun just for cat-lovers!

You can also pick a wish list item off our giving tree to donate to the MRFRS kitties, make a donation in someone’s name, or sponsor a cat as a gift for the cat-lover on your list.

We hope to see you there!

Black Friday $5 Feline Frenzy is Coming on November 25th!

Is someone to cuddle with on your wish list? Then make sure our Black Friday Five Dollar Feline Frenzy is on your calendar!! Come find a new best friend for just FIVE DOLLARS — November 25th from 11am to 4pm! Adult cats only. Please note that our regular screening processes apply, and no cats can be put on hold the week of the event, or during the event — so you’ll need to arrive early for the widest selection! For more info, email info@mrfrs.org — and for faster “checkout,” fill out your adoption application ahead of time!

Ho ho ho…the MRFRS Santa Claws online auction is here!

Get a head start on your holiday gifting with our final auction of the year! No matter how long your shopping list — or whether your gift recipients are naughty or nice – you’ll find lots of great items to bid on.

Plus you’ll feel especially good because all proceeds from the Santa Claws Auction go directly to our effective and life-saving work on behalf of cats and kittens in need, and the people who care about them.

The auction runs from November 21st – December 5th. Click here to check it out.

On behalf of the cats, thanks for your support of the Santa Claws auction.

Ask the Vet: All About Rabies

with Dr. Amy Karls
What exactly is rabies and why should I be concerned about it as a cat owner/caretaker?
Rabies is a virus that affects the brain and nervous system of all mammals. The virus is carried in the saliva of an infected animal, and the main cause of transmission is bite wounds. Clinical signs typically develop 3–12 weeks after the bite occurs, but can appear anywhere from several days to several months later.
There is no way to tell if an animal has rabies by looking at it – the symptoms may vary from no signs at all to aggressive behavior and seizures. Rabies is almost always fatal, with no known cure. The only approved way to test for rabies is on brain tissue, which requires the animal to be euthanized in order to make a definitive diagnosis.
In Massachusetts, bats and raccoons are the most common carriers of rabies, though it has also been found in foxes, skunks, woodchucks, dogs, and cats. Nationwide, in 2014 cats comprised 61% of all positive rabies cases in domestic animals. Since 1992, more than 5,000 animals have tested positive for rabies in MA. None of the MA cats that tested positive for rabies had ever received a rabies vaccination.
How can I make sure my cat is protected?
The current rabies vaccinations available for cats and dogs are extremely effective in preventing the disease. MA law requires that all cats and dogs be vaccinated against rabies.
Kittens receive their first rabies vaccine at about 12 weeks of age. No matter the age of the cat, if it is her first vaccine, it will be good for one year. After this, additional boosters will be given, either at one year or three year intervals depending on the type of vaccine used. Only veterinarians can administer rabies vaccines in MA.
Minimizing your cat’s exposure to wildlife will also help decrease her risk of contracting rabies.
But my cat stays indoors – why does she need a rabies vaccine?
Besides being legally required, there have been many reported instances of bats or other wildlife getting into a house and exposing the pets and people to rabies. Since this virus is virtually 100% fatal, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
I heard there were some recent changes to the rabies laws in MA – what does this mean to me?
On July 30, 2016, MA officially updated their state rabies regulations. The changes most relevant to pet owners and community cat caretakers relate to vaccination boosters and quarantine procedures.
Under the old law, if your cat was overdue for her rabies vaccine, that overdue booster vaccine would only be good for one year, even if she had been previously vaccinated. Under the new law, if you can prove that your cat received a rabies vaccine at any time in her past, that booster vaccine will now be good for three years (if that is the type of vaccine used).
The change in quarantine law mainly affects cats that have bite wounds or injuries from an unknown source (wound of unknown origin) and are either overdue for their rabies vaccine or have an unknown vaccine status (such as feral cats brought to a spay/neuter clinic).
Under the old law, these cats had to be in strict confinement (often referred to as quarantine) for 6 months and could not receive a rabies vaccine until 28 days before quarantine was done. Under the new law, the rabies vaccine will be given immediately, and the quarantine is shortened to 4 months. The longest time on record in MA for an animal in quarantine to become rabid was 3 months and 2 weeks.
It is estimated that 750 – 1,000 dogs and cats will benefit from this shortened quarantine period. These changes will greatly reduce the stress on quarantined cats that are used to going outdoors or are feral.
Where can I get more information?